Sheriff’s office offers reward for info leading to Jeroid Price’s capture
State police ‘urge’ Jeroid Price to turn himself in
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/WIS) - The sheriff of Richland County said his agency will offer a reward for information that helps law enforcement recapture a convicted killer the South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered back to prison.
Sheriff Leon Lott said the sheriff’s department will offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Jeroid Price, whom he called a fugitive during a Thursday afternoon news conference.
This comes after the state’s high court voted 3-2 Wednesday afternoon to order Price back into custody. Price, who was convicted in the 2002 shooting death of Charleston native Carl “Dash” Smalls Jr. in Columbia, had been released in March, 16 years early during his 35-year prison sentence.
“For 45 days, he has been out, enjoying life that he did not deserve to enjoy,” Lott said. “Yesterday, Price had the opportunity to turn himself in. He did not do that. He is now a fugitive.”
State agents urge Price to surrender to authorities
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division asked Price to surrender to authorities. SLED spokesperson Renée Wunderlich said they have an active order from the South Carolina Supreme Court to take Price into custody.
“Price is urged to turn himself in immediately,” SLED stated in a news release.
In this case, SLED is working with the South Carolina Department of Corrections, as well as local, state and federal law enforcement partners.
Anyone with information on Price’s location is asked to call 803-737-9000.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson asked the state Supreme Court court to review the circumstances of the release, arguing it did not follow proper procedure.
During oral arguments Wednesday, Price’s attorney, Todd Rutherford, a state representative, argued the order was sealed because Price assisted the Department of Corrections by relaying information that another inmate had escaped, and the sealing was done to protect Price’s life while he was behind bars.
The ruling came less than two hours after the South Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments about Price’s case. The justices wrote that they would explain their decision later and ordered law enforcement to immediately find Price and bring him back into state prison custody.
During arguments Wednesday, the justices said they didn’t like that the deal was kept secret, including from the parents of the man Price killed. The high court also noted that no formal hearing was held before Price walked out of prison 19 years into his 35-year sentence for a 2002 killing at a Columbia club.
The elected prosecutor signed off on the deal and he appears to be blamed for not following procedure.
“We are here to right wrongs,” Supreme Court Associate Justice John Kittredge said during 90 minutes of arguments. “Procedure matters.”
Price was housed at a New Mexico prison at the time he was released.
Rutherford said he did not know where Price is and has not spoken with him since Sunday or Monday.
“I imagine he was avoiding contact with anyone given the fact that the attorney general’s office and others thought it best to reveal the fact that he had been instrumental in catching a dangerous criminal,” Rutherford said.
Rutherford argues Price was a free man as of Wednesday, and the situation has moved quickly.
“All of this came together in a way that I’ve never seen before, and I’ve been practicing law for almost 30 years,” he said. “Everybody is looking at this as if Price is some fugitive from justice when a warrant was issued for his arrest yesterday. So at some point, I imagine, law enforcement will have contact with him. When they do, they will find out he’s not a violent person at all, but his life is clearly in jeopardy.”
Copyright 2023 WCSC/WIS. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.